Sowing and Reaping
Sunday, July 24, 2016
Morning Meditation: It is printed in your bulletin.
When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:11-12)
It took me a long time to figure out what it was Paul was saying that we see dimly now, but then we will know fully. What do you think he meant? If it were not for the last phrase of verse 12, I would probably think he was talking about knowing God, or even knowing all there is to know. But, that last phrase says, “as I also have been fully known”. I will know as I have been known. God sees me all the way through. He sees to the very core of me. He knows the good, the bad, the mature and the immature attitudes that color and shape how I respond to Him and to other people and to the circumstances of my life.
Putting away childishness is one of my goals, now that I am getting on in years. I do not, however, want to put away playfulness, and that sense of joy that we have when we are in our youth. I want to be taught by the Spirit of God. I want Him to reveal to me those attitudes that I need to change as I live for Him in this world.
Our scripture passage for today is found in Galatians chapter 6 beginning with verse 6. Here is an attitude I want to see better and to deal with. As I look at verse six, it is easy to take this verse out of context. It would be easy to say that Paul was telling those who are being taught the Word should provide for those who are teaching the Word. As a teacher of God's word, that is an attractive idea. I do believe there are other passages that do teach that those in the ministry should be supported in what they do, and when possible, the good ones should be able to concentrate on doing so without having to work a second job.
However, this passage is a little hard to accept as teaching that truth. That teaching just does not fit the context of what Paul is trying to get through to his readers.
So what is the context for this verse? Paul has been teaching about walking by the Spirit, or as we have been saying, keeping in step with the Spirit. The Spirit he is talking about is not just any old spirit out there; it is not just a general attitude. He is talking about keeping in step with God. We who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, need to accept His Lordship and begin living as God intends us to live, seeking and following Him each day of our lives. We need to put off the old man, or, as Paul has said, put off the flesh and live by the Spirit. He has stated that we who are in Christ have crucified the flesh and are walking in the Spirit. Let's read our verses for today.
Galatians 6:6 And let the one who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. NASB
How easy is it for you to get weary of doing good? How easy is it for you to do good to ALL men, to all people? Some people are just not easy to love and to do good for them. Life is not fair. People do not treat other people fairly. People, so often, do not love one another.
It is easier to look at them and to think to ourselves, “Why should I be good to them? They are not good to me!” Some people are mean and cruel to other people so why should we do good to all people?
But if everyone lived out the idea of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, most people in the world would be blind and toothless. And really that is what is happening in the world today. It sometimes seems that everyone is out for number one and really does not care about anyone else.
Everybody, but me.
But God sees me to the very core of my being. I cannot fool Him. He knows me better than I know myself. He knows why I make those jokes that are meant to be funny, but there is also a barb there.
I hesitate to speak of my marriage and my relationship with my wife, or as I often refer to her, my ex-wife. It is easy to let people think that my marriage ended simply because it was my wife's choice. And there is truth in that statement. But how many times did I fall short of being the husband that God had wanted me to be? How many of those jokes did I make that seemed on the surface to be harmless, but at some level we both knew that there was some animosity there, some judgment of her. As they say, a divorce is never one sided.
How many married couples have truly developed the close, loving relationship that God intends for them to have? How many of you know that you could walk closer to the Lord than you do? Are there times when you have failed to love your spouse as Christ loved the church? Are there times when you wives have shown little respect for your husbands?
I heard this week on K-Love that it has been shown to be true that a woman's greatest need is to be loved and a man's greatest need is to be respected. This is most likely why Paul said what he said in Ephesians 5. If your marriage is not all that God intends for it to be, do you need to move up a little closer to the One who can help you to be what He wants you to be? Do you need to work a little harder at showing love to your wife, and respect to your husband?
When the Bible tells us to love, it is not telling us to feel a certain way about someone, but to make the choices each day, to do and to say, and to act in ways that show respect and love for one another. Feelings of love are great, but when we are married, we do not always feel loved, or feel loving. We are called, as servants of God to always act in ways that help one another.
When we put off the flesh and begin walking in step with the Spirit we will begin to bear the fruit of the Spirit as Paul spoke of it in chapter 5 of Galatians.
When we begin to walk in step with the Spirit, we will begin to see those things in ourselves that God knows need to change. We will begin to see ourselves as God sees us. We will begin to open up and share with our teacher, the Holy Spirit, those things we have tried to keep hidden in the closet, those things we would like to pretend are not there.
We will know as we have been known. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked.
Mocked, what is that? It means ridiculed. God is not ridiculed. We ridicule, we mock one another. It is one way we judge one another. God will not be judged by us. We will be judged by God. We will one day give an account of how honest we have been with Him and with ourselves.
The flesh wants to hide those things that we feel others will mock, that others will judge. God calls us to be open and honest with Him and with ourselves, and with others when needed. Do not be deceived into thinking that you can get away with anything, God knows you and He wants to help you to know yourself and to put off those things that do not align with how God intends His people to live.
He wants to help us to see those things in our life that do not meet the standard of loving God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and our strength. He wants to help us learn to love one another as He loves us.
We are not condemned when we turn to God and admit our short comings, our failures, or sin. We are condemned when we refuse to turn to Him, to trust Him to love us and to lead us.
John spoke of this as light and darkness. When we come to the light and allow God to show us what we are really like, we are not condemned, we are forgiven and we are healed.
When we refuse to come to the light, that is, to God / to Jesus / to The Holy Spirit; When we refuse to come to Him and allow Him to see those things in us that need to be changed, we condemn ourselves to be trapped, to be in bondage to life without God.
In whatever we refuse to allow God to see and help us to change, we are moving toward corruption. As Paul put it, if we sow to the flesh we will reap corruption.
In whatever we submit to the authority and to the love of God and allow Him to see and help us to change, we are moving toward life, life eternal, life abundant, life that is in line with the person God created us to be.
We were never intended to live life apart from God. He is ever at work in us to move us from glory unto glory. He is ever loving us so much that He refuses to allow us to stay in the shape we were in before we knew Him, before we were born again, before we were born of the Spirit.
If we have been given life by the Spirit, we need to be walking in step with the Spirit. The church is about helping each other to grow in this relationship with Our Loving Heavenly Father.
To be a healthy Christian, you need to share with the body of Christ in public worship. You need to spend time alone with God, reading and studying His Word, the Bible. You need to develop your personal time with God, speaking to Him and listening to Him. You need to give as He directs you to give. If you are not giving to the work of God, you are cheating yourself, and you are disobeying the God who loves you.
To be a healthy Christian, you need the support of a small group of believers with whom you can share and grow. That is what Paul meant at the beginning of chapter 6 when he told those who are spiritual to restore the one who is out of step with the Spirit. We need one another.
If you have never been baptized as a believer you need to obey the Lord and be baptized. This is an outward testimony of the work that God has done in your life. If you are trusting Him as Lord and Savior, you need to publicly confess that by allowing yourself to be buried with Christ and to be raised to newness of life. Even Jesus himself, submitted to the ordinance of baptism. You need to participate in the Lord's Supper and Foot washing! These were commanded by Our Lord
What is God saying to you today? What does He want to do in your life? Are you listening to the Spirit and obeying Him? Are you walking in step with the Spirit? You will reap what you sow. If you sow to the flesh, you will reap corruption. If you sow to the Spirit you will reap everlasting life and life abundant and free.